Mar 12

It looks like the 2021 Texas Water Safari will be happening on the second Saturday of June. Actually it will start the morning of that second Saturday and continue on through the morning of the following Wednesday. The event runs for 100 consecutive hours and the canoe teams have that long to paddle 262 plus miles from the ocarina springs in San Marcos all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

As I find out more information about this event, I will be happy to pass it on. I am planning on being at Staples Dam, which has been my usual assignment for the past 10 years or so. Eric Olson WB5ZJQ has been the point of contact from the SARO club For as long as I can remember. Harvey Babb has been the overall contact.

May 5

The Texas Water Safari (TWS) will NOT be held June 13 – 17 (the second weekend in June) but was originally rescheduled for September 12 – 16. 

However, due to that pesky COVID-19 virus and the fact that the 260+ miles of the course intersects hundreds of municipalities and county jurisdictions, all who could establish their own guidelines or restrictions, the TWS Board has decided to cancel the event for 2020.

We know this will not work for all, but the TWS board felt this was the best solution for a fluid situation that changes daily.  This will hopefully allow for the pandemic to play out and allow for a great race next year

This was not an easy decision because we know how important the race is to all, but we felt this is the best solution to help ensure racer’s safety, allow more time to train and for the Coronavirus to run its course.

Texas Water Safari Board

Apr 6

Our regular volunteers already know to get their radios and batteries ready for operations when the month of April hits.  Actually many of the Ham Volunteers with Hill Country REACT never stopped being ready for events.   They worked events in January and March already, out in the Bandera, Texas, area at the Hill Country State Natural Park.  One event was the Bandera 100k Cross Country running event (24 hours) in January, followed by the Big Bend 50k out west. On March 5-6th was a horse ride endurance event (2 day) back in the Hill Country State Natural Area (state park).  There may have been other events in between that I missed.  Look for event posts by the REACT Team president, Louis Upton N5STX, elsewhere in this blog.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  We have lots of volunteer events happening between now and Field Day weekend.  This is just a short list of known events being held involving San Antonio and the surrounding area hams.  If someone wants to build up a list of contest, I’ll be happy to work with you on posting those dates as well.

April 15-17th – BPMS150 National MS Bicycle Ride (2 days).  At present time, 5 teams of SAG vans will depart on Friday, April 15th from San Antonio, to arrive that night in Katy, TX, outside of Houston, to start off the biggest bicycle tour in Texas the next morning.  The San Antonio contingent will be joined by other SAG Teams from Austin and these two groups will be swallowed up by all of the others coming from the  Houston area.  At last count, I think there were around 45 SAG Vans, 12 SAG Box Truck / Bus combos (Rental Moving Van with a School bus tagging along).  More info will be posted after the event.  Volunteer list is closed for this event due to the logistics, but rooms are provided for both overnights, plus the fuel doesn’t require out of pocket expense either. Hams use both 2 meter and 440 frequencies, plus APRS, to communicate.  Non-hams use provided MURS radios. Mobile radios with dual band preferred for usage.

April 21st – Battle of the Bands Festival – Hams are used to coordinate the bands and VIP arrivals.  See posting here.

April 24th – Fiesta Wildflower 100 Bicycle Tour – Hams are used to coordinate the rest stops along the route. Motorcycle Safety Marshals, some are hams, will be  used to spot problems or rider issues along the route.  See posting here.

May 7th – Area 20 Special Olympics Spring Games – This really isn’t a big ham radio event, since we mostly coordinate the commercial hand held radios at the event, but occasionally we’ve had W2IK out here with a special events station as well.  This is a one day event, running from around 7am thru 4pm, held at a local San Antonio area sports stadium.   Contact Lee Besing N5NTG at or via phone 210-771-7075 (voice/text).

May 7th – Bulverde’s 17th annual Run For The Hills race – Hams from Hill Country REACT with the help of other area hams, provide coordination for this 10k event which is held north of San Antonio, off Hwy 281 and FM1863, in Bulverde Texas. In addition to spotter positions along the route, volunteers also help coordinate the parking lot area to avoid confusion in the wee hours before sunrise.  This event is a Saturday morning event, over by noon.  Contact Charlie Land KC5NKK at 512-796-7565 (voice/text) or

May 14th – San Antonio American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride.  – Ham are used to coordinate the rest stops along the route. Motorcycle Safety Marshals, some are hams, will be  used to spot problems or rider issues along the route.  See posting here.

May 29th – American Hero 25k Relay Run – Hams are used to monitor the turn around points on the looped race course that never leaves the  property for the University. Hours are 7am-1pm with free t-shirts provided for the volunteers. Contact Lee Besing N5NTG at or via phone 210-771-7075 (voice/text).

June 11-13th – Texas Water Safari.  Hams are used to provide communications from the start line on Saturday until the finish line on Wednesday, but most positions near the front are done much quicker.  Last year over 100 canoe teams  competed for this 100 hour, 262 mile river race (yes, it’s a timed race) from San Marcos, down thru Victoria and on to Sea Drift, on the Texas Gulf Coast.  This event is run 24 hours a day until the last canoe team has been accounted for, but each check point along the river has different operation hours.   Both voice and digital communication modes are used to pass the in/out team information to the next check point down the river.  Ham operators play a critical port in the safety of this event.   Volunteers are coordinated on the front end check points  of the race course by Erik Olson WB5ZJQ, while other check points are coordinated by Harvey Babb WB5MCT.  Contact Erik at 210-213-4098 (voice/text during non-business hours please) or  Contact Harvey at 361-676-0356 or


Jan 30

We are fortunate that the Ham Radio community has members willing to help with multiple other non-profit or public service type events through out the year. 

Here is a (not so) short list of the major 2013 events that hams from the San Antonio metro area can usually be found helping with. Contact links for future events are included, but contacts for past events aren’t included since it’s too late for this year.  If you know of an event that ought to be on this list, please contact the webmaster by email.

  • January 12-13 – Bandera 100k Endurance Run – coordinated by REACT
  • January 12 – San Antonio Radio Fiesta  Hamfest (Schertz)  – coordinated by SARC
  • January 19-21 – Big Bend 50 Run (Big Bend National Park)
  • March 2 – MS Walk  – coordinated by SARO – Contact N5MYN
  • March 2-3 – Heart of the Hills 36 hour Ride (HCSNA – Bandera) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • April 19-20 – CASI Ladies State Championship Chili Cook-off (Seguin) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • April 20-21 – Houston’s BP150 BikeMS (Houston – Austin) (2 days) – Contact N5NTG
  • April 25 – Fiesta Battle of the Bands –  coordinated by SARO – Contact N5MYN
  • April 28 – Wildflower 100 Bicycle Ride (1 day, San Antonio) – coordinated by REACT- Contact N5NTG
  • May 4 – Special Olympics Spring Games Region 21 coordinated by REACT  – Contact N5NTG
  • May 4 – Run for the Hills 5k Run (Bulverde) – coordinated by REACT– Contact K5STX
  • May 11 – ADA Tour de Cure Bicycle Ride (1 day, San Antonio) –  coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • May 26 – 3rd Annual American  Hero 25k Run / Relay / Concert  – coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • June 8 – Texas Water Safari (Canoe race from San Marcos – Gulf Coast) (5 days) – Top of route assignments coordinated by SARO– Contact WB5ZJQ
  • July 4 – Canyon Lake Fourth of July Parade (Startzville) coordinated by REACT – Contact K5STX
  • September 7 – Children’s Transplant Bicycle Ride (Helotes – Boerne) coordinated by REACT- Contact N5NTG
  • October 12-13 – BikeMS – Valero Alamo Ride to the River Bicycle Ride (2 days) – coordinated by SARO- Contact N5NTG
  • October 31 – Canyon Lake Halloween Event (Sattler) – coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • November 2-3 – Tour de Gruene (New Braunfels / Canyon Lake) – – coordinated by GVARC – Contact K5GST
  • November 9 – Universal City Veterans Day Parade (date may change to Nov 2) coordinated by REACT – Contact N5NTG
  • November 17 – San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon (date change updated 01/26/2013) – coordinated by AARO – Contact N5NTG
  • December 6-7 – National Skywarn Recognition Day (24 hrs, New Braunfels NWS Office)  – coordinated by NWS – Contact K5STX
  • December 14 – Canyon Lake Christmas Parade (Sattler, TX) – coordinated by REACT- Contact K5STX

For more info about the above list of public service events, or to volunteer for an event, please click on the CONTACT link for the specific event, or contact

We’ll work on getting all of these events, plus any others as they get listed, into the calendar on this website.  In the meantime, if you want to voluteer, don’t be bashful! It’s lots of fun, and a different way to make new ham radio friends!  If you know of an event that wasn’t listed here, but should be, please contact us to get it added into the calendar.

Jun 15

Staples Dam Lowerside

This was only my second year to participate in this challenging event, with about 135 canoe teams starting to paddle down the river at 9am Saturday morning (6/9), and continuing on down the river over 260 miles until they reached the Gulf Coast at Seadrift, Texas, 2 to 4 days later.  Or else quit along the way.This year, 141 teams entered, 134 teams started in San Marcos, and 80+ teams actually made it all the way to the finish line.  The first team to finish got there just before midnight on Sunday night, and the last team to arrive got there sometime late on Wednesday morning I think.  See the event website at www.TexasWaterSafari.orgfor full details.

This was also the first year they had a death in the race, with a contestant being flown on Sunday (day 2) to a hospital back in San Marcos, after he collapsed.  (details on their website).

Ham Radio operators staffed a boatload of checkpoints (pun intended) starting about the 16 mile point at Staples Dam (where my son David KD5MTJ and myself N5NTG where stationed).   Each checkpoint ham team would record the team #, time in and out, and then enter that info into an Excel spreadsheet.  Once entered, it was transmitted over Packet Radio downstream to all the other checkpoints using digipeaters that had been setup as relays all the way to the coast.    Some checkpoints have become family traditions, where you almost have to inherit the assignment to be able to work it, but extra hams are usually always welcomed.  The list of hams is quite long, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to list them all here without missing someone and possibly hurting their feelings. 🙂

I made a trip out to this location the week before the event, to contact the land owners and familiarize my self with the layout. That pre-planning helped make setup much smoother, because the owners allowed us to tap into their electricity and thus avoid the need for generator or extended battery operations on the day of the event.  It also let us find out the “secret” location of the flush toilets inside the barn, instead of making the long trek across the bridge to the porta potties on the other side of the river.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 23

American Hero 25k Relay

Alamo Stadium (near 281 & Hildebrand)

Event will be held at the Alamo Stadium, with the 5k route leaving the north entrance of the stadium, crossing east under 281 into the Zoo entrance and thus over to Brackenridge Park. Route will be run 5 times, thus the relay. Free food for all ham volunteers at the stadium, courtesy of Spagetti Warehouse. We have about 6-8 points needing covered. HT radios okay, or operate out of your vehicle.

Map of stadium here

Map of 5k route here

Hill Country REACT Team coordinating event. Contact Lee Besing @ 210-771-7075 or to volunteer or get more info.

Tour de Cure Hams Still Needed for Saturday, June 4th.

Rest Stop Hams & finish line hams only. All Driver positions filled.

Contact Lee Besing @ 210-771-7075 or

to volunteer or get more info. This is a 2 day event, starting at the Retama Park, ending in San Marcos on Day 1 (Saturday). Rest Stops are all east of IH-35, mostly between 35 & 10, and out toward Seguin. Won’t be in New Braunfels this year. Route has changed from last year.

Texas Water SafariTexas Water Safari – June 11-12th

The Texas Water Safari is a canoe race from San Marcos to Seadrift 265 river miles and is in need of a Amateur Operator(s) to volunteer for the Hochheim check point.  This check point is located where the Guadalupe River crosses Hwy 183 northwest of Hochheim.  This check point is dificult to operate from and will test most any amateur’s ability.  Hochheim is operational from 9:00 p.m. Sunday (6/12) through 10:00 a.m. Monday.  You will need a radio capable of working voice on both 2-m and 440 MHz with an antenna and at least a 20 foot push up pole.  Packet is a big plus. The provided software will run on any Windows machine that runs Microsoft Excel and a serial port for connection to your TNC.

If you are not capable of working the entire time maybe we can find some to take the second shift.  If you are interested please contact Eric WB5ZJQ at 210-647-3180 or e-mail:



Nov 10

Good Morning,

Sorry for the late notice on the location, but here we go!
As requested during post race briefings last year, we are having a test and tune for the Bandera 100k, which also benefits the Water Safari Volunteers!
Jeremy and I will be holding a test and tune session of the spreadsheet program and packet equipment that is used for the Texas Water Safari and Bandera 100k events.
Saturday, Nov 13th between from 8:00 a.m. to around noon! Jeremy and I will be on site at 0800 hrs, with the majority of the group coming in around 0900 hrs!
Location: Guadalupe County Office of Emergency Management: 415 E. Donegan St. Seguin, TX
Two blocks East of the Courthouse, one block south!

The purpose of the test, is to try the new configuration with various computers, to make sure the spreadsheet will communicate with the computers comm port settings correctly.
Bring the set-up you plan to use during the Bandera 100k event or Water Safari!
Note: We have found already, that the new Windows 7, running 64 bit is not working correctly(Jeremy may find a fix for this).  Windows 7, running 32 bit appear to be functioning properly.

We will be running the program through the digi-peater, back and forth, and really try hard to crash the system to try and eliminate any problems that could occur during the events.

If you can make it, fantastic!  If not, one we have the bugs worked out, the files will be sent out with detailed install instructions for you
to try prior to the race.
The session is primarily for Bandera 100k/Water Safari volunteers running packet, but anyone with an interest is invited to attend. This spreadsheet and packet software could have many uses!

If you have any questions, please contact me @ or 830-305-2889.
Also, PLEASE RSVP if you can make it!


Louis – K5STX